Changes to First Aid Training

Wednesday, April 4, 2018



The Chief Inspector, Tibor Szana of the Department of Labour, promulgated in the Government Gazette (No 41350 dated 22 December 2017) Notice R.1463 :

 “Amended Notice of Direction in terms of Section 27(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, read with Regulation 3(4) of the General Safety Regulations” made changes to the first aid training accreditation regulations. In this notice, all First Aid Training Providers will now need to be accredited by the Quality Assurance Body that has been delegated the quality assurance responsibilities for First aid unit standards by the Quality Council for Trades & Occupations (QCTO). The notice gives training providers until 21 August 2018 to comply with the new regulations or be deregistered.




Essentially what it means is that the traditional First Aid Level 1, 2 and 3 (or combination) courses cease to be accredited and will no longer be taught by accredited First Aid Training Providers in terms of the new regulation. The QCTO and HWSETA have indicated that the Occupational Part Qualifications / Skills Programmes will now be the minimum level of training. The First Aider Skills Programme (FASP) that has been accepted by HWSETA to be followed; comprises of the following 3 Unit Standards:

  • US 119567 – NQF Level 01 | Credits 5: Perform basic Life Support and first aid procedures.

  • US 120496 – NQF Level 02 | Credits 5: Provide risk-based primary emergency care/ first aid in the workplace.

  • US 13915 – NQF Level 03 | Credits 4: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS in a workplace, and its effects on a business sub-sector, own organisation and a specific workplace.



All 3 Unit Standards will need to be completed by a learner for a Competency Certificate to be issued by the HWSETA, so single Unit Standards cannot be conducted.. The results of switching to a FASP in line with the new regulations are:


  • Entrance Requirements: The minimum entrance requirement is ABET Level 4. This is an adult qualification that is registered at Level 1 on the NQF, it is comparable to Grade 9 (or the old Standard 7). ABET is competency in English and Mathematics as there is writing required to complete the Portfolio of Evidence and Workplace Experience Assignments. This effectively precludes anybody with a lower educational level than ABET 4 or non-skilled workforce from acquiring a certificate in First Aid where previously there was No Educational requirement for Levels 1 & 2. Majority of learners only require the current soon to be old First Aid Level 1 Course for their workplace.

  • Duration: The credits for the FASP is 14 credits which equates to 140 Notional Hours. The new course duration will be at least 2 – 3 weeks to meet the requirements. This is broken down into a contact / classroom session of 42 hours (1 week) after which learners will then spend time at work, building and compiling a Portfolio of Evidence (PoE), Workplace Experience Logbooks and Summative Assessments of 98 hours. Only after which, the final assessment, moderation, verification and endorsement of submissions can occur. The latter two components can take up to 2 – 4 weeks to be concluded. The issue of this certificate can take up to 3 – 4 months.

  • Cost: With the increase in duration of the training, additional physical resources, additional learner support material required, additional requirements for Assessor and Moderation of the learning material and additional administrative costs. Currently the average cost of an accredited first aid course is R900.00 per delegate for a basic course. The new course fee will increase to R2,000.00 to R3,500.00 per delegate and that is for course fees only. Not to mention costs to productivity, etc.

  • Training Venues: All training venues will need to be inspected by HWSETA before training can commence. There will be a huge delay for onsite training requests.

  • Workplace Mentors/ Experience: You will need to provide and appoint Workplace Mentors so that learners can complete the Workplace Learning Component. This will take additional costs, time and resources to put this in place at the workplace.